If These Walls Could Talk

Brian Lefholz

October 8, 2018

Sacramento has had a renaissance of large-scale art exhibitions recently, including Art Hotel and Art Street, allowing the community to experience an immense amount of art in one place for a select period of time. In September, Tearing Walls Apart capitalized on this movement but with one distinct difference, it aimed to elevate student art on a city-wide scale by giving students a chance to show their talent.

Natomas Charter Performing and Fine Arts Academy’s team Untitled. Four, with their series of portraits of female minorities underrepresented in media.

Inside the soon-to-be-renovated Mansion Inn hotel, over 170 students from high schools in the Greater Sacramento Region (and as far away as Stockton), were given the opportunity to be part of a one day art exhibition open to the public.

A detail shot of Rocklin High School Mural Club’s piece, an entire room illustrating connectivity through social media.

The student’s canvases were a wall or a space inside one of the original 46 rooms of the currently shuttered hotel. In these spaces, they could create without censorship or limitations. The enthusiasm, creativity and dedication students showed toward their art was inspiring.

Angela Lu from Sacramento Waldorf School, with her piece about ancient people trying to reach out to the modern world.

A handful of us at Dreyfuss + Blackford, who work in various artistic mediums, mentored students while they created their pieces. As artist-mentors, we were there to lend our experience in executing large-scale art pieces.

For the pool mural installation, Jason Silva and Ginger Thompson helped the student team suspend a projector 40 feet above the courtyard, and then worked into the darkness to transfer the design onto the pool floor.

Jason and Ginger assisting two students from Sacramento Country Day School in creating “Swimming Spiral” inside the Mansion Inn’s empty pool.

Chris Holt and I worked individually with several students, occasionally offering advice but mostly listening and helping to refine their ideas, and then getting out of their way.

Chris with a team from Sacramento Waldorf High School, creating a mural of optical illusions, best viewed from one specific point in the room.

As the event came to a close – just six hours after it began, and over 3,000 visitors later – I couldn’t help but recall my own experience with art as a young student. At my midwest grade school, art was seen as a second- or maybe even a third thought, but one lady, Ms. Connor, would give up her free time to come in once a week to teach art to our class. She encouraged creativity and showed interest in my art, which helped ignite the spark to pursue a career in creativity.

The student artists enjoyed the event and were appreciative of the opportunity to show their potential. Some may not realize the impact this opportunity will have on their lives and careers right now, but hopefully our mentorship, encouragement and overwhelming interest in their work will jump start a lifelong passion in the arts.

To see more photos from the event, including the student work, visit our album.

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